Marking another promising advance for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, including those with a rare subset of this blood cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted priority review for an investigational compound that has shown positive results in a Phase II clinical trial.
Venetoclax has shown great potential as a new way of treating CLL patients who have received at least one prior therapy. It also appears to be effective for patients with a rare subset in which a piece of chromosome 17 is missing. Venetoclax works by inhibiting the BCL-2 protein and enabling a signaling system that tells cells, including cancer cells, to self-destruct.
More than 126,000 patients in the U.S. currently live with CLL, a typically slow-moving blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow. Of those CLL patients who do not respond to therapy, or who have relapsed, approximately 30 percent are found to have a mutation in which they are missing part of chromosome 17.
A Priority Review designation is granted to medicines that the FDA believes have the potential to provide significant improvement in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a disease. The compound was granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation in April 2015 in order to expedite its development and review.
For more than 66 years The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has dedicated its energy and resources to finding cures for blood cancers, investing more than $1 billion over that time. Last night in his State of the Union address, President Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to take the lead in a “moon shot” mission to cure cancer. We at LLS agree the time is right.
“It’s personal for everybody,” the Vice President later said in a statement.
As Vice President Biden pointed out, everybody is touched by cancer. He also lauded the innovations in data and technology, and new approaches to research, which are leading to remarkable progress in the ability to harness the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, and more precise ways to target molecularly the cancer-driving genes. Innovations in treating cancer are reaching patients at dizzying speed and we are at the cusp of seeing even more breakthroughs in the near future.
Survivorship Series: A California mom talks about how she learned to rest, relax and renew
Do you feel stuck in your world of cancer? I used to.
Now, in my author bio, I usually list myself as a writer, mommy, yogini, daughter, editor, sister, and napper extraordinaire. Notice how I skipped over that I’m in remission from leukemia? I’m not lying by omission, it’s just not a big deal to who I am because I’ve moved beyond cancer as my identity. And you can, too.
Think of yourself as a “recoverer” from cancer. The more you positively believe you are recovering, the better you will feel about the situation.
Whether you’re in the middle of treatments or a couple of years out from diagnosis, don’t let blood cancer be the sole focus of your life. Remember you are a recoverer, not a victim or someone doing battle with your own body.